The United Nations’ charity arm for children, UNICEF, is funding research into blockchain technology and for same it has selected six companies in developing and emerging economies, which will together receive $100,000 as an investment from UNICEF’s Innovation Fund to solve global challenges using blockchain technology, said UNICEF in a press release.
Among six selected companies, one of them ‘StaTwig’ is from India. Based out of Hyderabad and incubated at T-Hub, India’s largest startup acclerator, StaTwig is an IoT (Internet of Things) and Blockchain startup innovating Cold-Chain space to prevent wastage of food and vaccines.
Founded in 2016, by Sid Chakravarthy, Statwig uses Blockchain and IoT to provide an end-to-end traceability of products from manufacturers to customers. The platform created by StaTwig that lets all parties involved in the supply chain track goods at all times and even be able to trace back to any point.
Statwig is also a graduate startup from Singaporean hardware accelerator Airmaker.
Statwig intends to use the investment from the UNICEF Innovation Fund to validate its solution and thereafter bring it to scale.
Besides Statwig, UNICEF will invest up to $100,000 USD in the five other companies — Atix Labs, Onesmart, Prescrypto, Utopixar and W3 Engineers to deliver open-source prototypes of blockchain applications within 12-months.
- Atix Labs (Argentina) will develop a platform for small to medium-sized enterprises to gain access to funding while creating traceability into where the funds are used and measuring the impact.
- Onesmart (Mexico) will address the misappropriation of funds in emerging markets with the scale of its prototype application, which ensures the delivery of state-provided social services to children and young people.
- Prescrypto (Mexico) will provide a digital solution to the lack of electronic prescriptions in developing countries with a platform that allows medical services providers to view one common history of a patient, and improve the level of care.
- Statwig (India) will use blockchain solutions to ensure the efficient delivery of vaccines through an enhanced supply-chain management system.
- Utopixar (Tunisia) will deliver a social collaboration tool for communities and organisations to facilitate participative decision-making and value transfer.
- W3 Engineers (Bangladesh), will improve connectivity within the refugee and migrant communities through an offline mobile networking platform without the use of sim cards and internet connection.
The investments are part of a broader program which already funds 20 technology startups, according to a press release.
Selected from more than 100 applications across 50 countries, these six companies will build prototypes and systems for global problems like transparency in health-care delivery, affordable access to mobile phone connectivity, and the ability to direct finances and resources to social-impact projects. They join 20 other technology startups currently under management by the Fund in fields from data science and machine learning, to virtual reality, to drones.
“Blockchain technology is still at an early stage — and there is a great deal of experimentation, failure, and learning ahead of us as we see how, and where, we can use this technology to create a better world,” said Chris Fabian, Principal Adviser, UNICEF Innovation. “That’s exactly the stage when UNICEF Innovation Fund invests: when our financing, technical support, and focus on vulnerable populations can help a technology grow and mature in the most fair and equitable way possible.”
These investments are part of UNICEF’s larger blockchain explorations of using smart-contracts for organizational efficiencies, creating distributed decision-making processes, and working to build knowledge and understanding of distributed ledger technology both in the United Nations and in the countries where UNICEF works.
In addition to funding the start-up companies, UNICEF’s Innovation Fund will provide product and technology assistance, support with business growth, and access to a network of experts and partners. The Fund also actively seeks second-round investment and support for companies it has invested in, as well as the opportunity to scale-up these technologies, when they are successful, in the more than 190 countries and territories where UNICEF operates.